When you decide to place a child for adoption or adopt a child into your family, your friends and family might have some questions about the adoption process. Even if they don’t ask you directly, you can still take some time to teach them about adoption and what it means for you and the child.
Here are a few ways to help educate your friends and family about the adoption process.
Use Positive Adoption Language
People who are unfamiliar with adoption might not realize there are certain words we use and don’t use when discussing the process. It’s important to use positive adoption language around your friends and family members; chances are, they will pick up on it and use it the same way. If they don’t, you can and should gently correct them.
Here are a few examples:
- Adoption is an event, not a condition. Therefore, as adoptive parents you would teach your family to refer to your son or daughter, not your “adopted son” or “adopted daughter.” Likewise, you would say your child was adopted, not that he or she is adopted.
- Biological parents place their children for adoption. They do not “give the baby away” or “put the baby up” for adoption. Children who are waiting to be adopted are never “unwanted” children.
- Throughout the child’s life, adoptive parents may at times talk about the biological parents or birth parents, not the “real parents.”
Even though certain questions may seem silly or insensitive, each question presents an opportunity to educate the person about adoption. If people don’t ask, they often end up making assumptions about adoption that may or may not be true.
You are, of course, entitled to your privacy, and you don’t have to answer any questions that violate that privacy or make you comfortable. Simply keep in mind that people don’t know what they don’t know, and the fact that they’re willing to ask (rather than hold on to their assumptions) is a positive step. Encourage questions and answer them as patiently as possible.
Invite Them to Visit the Agency
You wouldn’t want to lead a tour group to the adoption agency, but you might like to invite a close friend along on one of your agency visits to help him or her better understand the process. We’re happy to answer any questions he or she has.
We can recommend books and other resources for birth and adoptive parents; a friend who is curious about the adoption process may find these useful, as well.
Get Them Involved
As an adoptive parent, you can ask friends and family members for feedback on your adoptive family profile. They might have ideas about photos you should include or stories you should tell, or they could help you shoot and edit a video. As a birth parent, you might like some help browsing those profiles to find the perfect family for the child. A friend can also accompany you to doctor appointments and agency visits.
Getting your loved ones involved in this way also gives you an opportunity to talk more in depth about adoption, and they might feel more comfortable asking questions as they get more familiar with the process.
Adoption is an incredible gift for the child as well as the adoptive and biological parents; however, there’s a pretty good chance that most of the people you know don’t have any idea about how adoption works. Since these people play an important role in your life and possibly in the child’s life, it’s important for them to get comfortable with adoption and how to speak about it. If you’re wondering how to teach your friends and family about the adoption process, please contact us! We’re happy to answer your questions and theirs.
We are also here to answer any of your questions as you begin the process of placing your child for adoption or adopting a child.